Tijuana on Monday launched a campaign to attract visitors from the neighboring US city of San Diego, despite spiralling drug violence in the Mexican border town that last year claimed 843 lives.
To mark Tijuana's 120th anniversary, the Mexico's tourist office in San Diego unveiled its "120 Things To Do in Tijuana" campaign, hoping to end a downward trend in US tourism to the city and the Baja California region.
AdvertisementTijuana traditionally is a popular weekend destination for California youths, especially because of its lower legal drinking age of 18 instead of 21 in the United States.
But the Mexican city also has become a major trafficking node for cocaine and other hard drugs, and a veritable battlefield in the drug cartels' turf wars.
The violence appears to have scared off American travellers. For example, visitors to a popular whale-watching lagoon at Guerrero Negro, 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) south of Tijuana, dropped by 25 percent last year as compared to 2007.
The number of killings in the drug war, meanwhile, has increased to 5,300 across Mexico last year, and to 843 in Tijuana, more than double the 2007 murder rate of 337.
The violence prompted the US State Department in February to issue a travel advisory cautioning American college students planning to take their annual spring break vacations in Mexico's border territories.
Across Mexico, more than 1,000 people have been killed so far this year in suspected drug attacks amid the government's crackdown on warring cartels, while last year saw more than 5,300 killed in drug violence.